I have a mystery. An enigma so profound that I’ve puzzled and puzzled ‘till my puzzler was sore, and I still have no idea what’s happening. At the end of November, I went into my bathroom as one does, and I was immediately struck by the sight of a scorch mark in the wooden frame and gold surround of my vanity mirror. The frame itself is over 100 years old, and we had a mirror cut just for it. It’s very nice, and I have one right beside it that matches it, so I was understandably upset when I saw the unexpected damage:
Me: Ken! Come here! What on earth is this?
Ken: It looks like something burned your mirror. How long has it been like that?
Me: Since now. It wasn’t like that last night.
Ken: Weird. Probably the sunlight reflected off that magnifying make-up mirror on the counter, and the concentration of light and heat set it on fire.
Me: This isn’t Gilligan’s Island, KEN!
And while I understand that Ken and I grew up in an era where television shows prepared us for a lot more coconut-powered appliances, quicksand, and campfires created with simple sunlight and a magnifying glass than we actually ever encountered in adulthood, the truth is that there’s no way that the sun, crossing the sky and whatnot, could have possibly been concentrated enough and accurate enough to burn my mirror frame. For a few days, I entered the bathroom with a certain amount of trepidation, glancing at the mirror skeptically (and suspiciously), convinced that there were other forces at work. But after a certain amount of time, I got used to the scorch mark and was actually able to ignore it. Until Tuesday morning. I got out of bed and went into the bathroom to get ready for work and THERE WAS ANOTHER SCORCH MARK. The new mark was about an inch to the left of the first one, and when I saw it, I felt faint. Then I did what any normal person would do—I called for Ken:
Me: There’s another burn mark!
Ken: It’s your make-up mirror.
Me: That’s impossible, PROFESSOR. Go call someone with your coconut.
And I was freaking out just a little, but then I did some research on the internet and discovered to my horror, and disappointment, that my house isn’t haunted by a pyrotechnic ghost but that concave makeup mirrors can actually cause fires when the sun reflects off them, and that I had dodged what could have been a very serious bullet/fire. Apparently, the chances of this occurring are extremely remote but it’s happened in both Leeds, England involving a shaving mirror and in Toronto, where a concave mirror caused a serious blaze. And in 2015, the London Fire Brigade issued a warning to homeowners to keep all glass objects away from windows, including mirrors, crystal, glass paperweights and more, after it responded to 125 fires in the previous five years, all caused by the sun’s rays, and when I read this, I immediately put my make-up mirror inside the vanity cupboard unless I needed it. Mystery solved, right? But then yesterday, I went into the bathroom and instead of a scorch mark, the words REDRUM were written on my mirror in lip gloss….